Comeback Season: The Bolo Tie

Bolo ties hanging up.

This festival season, the bolo tie is getting a makeover.

The bolo tie gained immense popularity throughout the southwest in the early 30s and became the official neckwear of Arizona in 1973. The accessory was made famous by Westerners and cowboys, specifically in Wickenburg, Ariz.

According to Mary Ann Igna, curator at the Arizona Bolo Tie Museum in Wickenburg, when it comes to the history of the bolo tie, every state claims to be the originator. In Arizona, the story goes, “There was a gentleman named Vic Cedarstaff and his hat flew off, leaving just the band slipped around his neck, and he ended up making ties from that.”

Bolo ties hanging up at Saba’s Western Wear in Chandler, Ariz.

It wasn’t until the late 1940s when Cedarstaff patented the bolo tie design that became such a popular formal neckwear staple to any cowboy’s wardrobe.

“Because of Arizona’s warm climate they were more comfortable to wear than a traditional tie. They provided a stylish western flair which was a part of Arizona’s style,” said Kent Saba of Saba’s Western Wear, a family-owned western wear store in Arizona.

Once a widespread fashion statement in the southwest, is the bola tie dead? Festival fashion and Coachella style says, hell no!

Much like anything else, history in fashion repeats itself. It is not unlikely that bola ties will make a comeback and become more popular in the future, not only among cowboys, but possibly make a statement among the festival fashion world as well. Similar to the resurrection of fringe, suede, and western belt buckles among the festival scene.

“As we are seeing the fashion from decades ago come back with a twist, I don’t think it’s long before bolo ties are back in,” said Kendall Lindstrom, UA retail and consumer sciences student.  “They represent a unique look, and festival fashion is all about getting out of your comfort zone with your style and capitalizing on Boho Chic. These bolo ties could easily be paired with an outfit of that sort, and it’s just a matter of time before they work their way back in to our festival wardrobes.”

With summer festival season approaching, it is likely that bolo ties may make an appearance in some trendy wardrobes.

“Anything is possible when it comes to festival fashion, I spend months in advance planning my outfits for this music festival,” said Amanda Morton, UA student and loyal Coachella attendee. “If a bola tie is an accessory that makes my look come together, I’d for sure be wearing one.”

Bola ties aren’t just for cowboys anymore. It’s comeback season.

Zoe Wesley is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at


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